Robotic Hot Inspection and Repair of Waterwall Tubing
Source: UFTO
Date: 4/25/97    Record No.: 10444
Contact: Randy Minnis
Entech Design, Inc.
Denton TX

Robotic Hot Inspection and Repair of Waterwall Tubing
Entech Design, a Texas company with several successful products for bottom ash handling and mapping, has a put together a proposal to develop a new robotic pipe-crawler system to inspect and repair waterwall tubing in fossil power plants.

Inspection -- While NDE techniques are well known, they are not used as frequently as might be indicated because of the high cost of currently available procedures. The proposed system will provide a rapid and cost-effective means to get comprehensive tube condition data, making it possible to predict failures and to schedule preventive repairs during scheduled outages. The company believes that over 30% of forced outages could be eliminated.

Repair and Replacement -- Robotic technology is highly developed in other industries, and capabilities exist to manipulate, cut and weld tubes. Performing these tasks with heat-tolerant robotic systems would significantly reduce boiler cool-down time, by as much as ten hours. Over all outage times would be reduced and scaffolding costs would be eliminated.

The company has a detailed plan involving collaboration with Sandia National Lab (one of the leading robotics R&D groups in the U.S.), and a leading provider of robotic equipment. The system would use available off-the-shelf components.

They're looking for an electric utility partner to provide development capital and program guidance, and to participate in the ownership of the service company that will employ the technology.